Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation

Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Smaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive | Dems question IRS on new tax forms | Warren rolls out universal child care proposal | Illinois governor signs bill for minimum wage Smaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks MORE (R-Iowa) on Wednesday torched Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says he was interviewed by Mueller CNN hires former DOJ spokesperson under Sessions as editor on 2020 campaign MORE for his “attempt to undermine” a bipartisan drug sentencing reform bill. 

“Incensed by Sessions letter An attempt to undermine Grassley/Durbin/Lee BIPARTISAN criminal justice reforms This bill deserves thoughtful consideration b4 my cmte. AGs execute laws CONGRESS WRITES THEM!” Grassley tweeted.

In a letter sent to Grassley on Wednesday, Sessions wrote that legislation proposed by Grassley and Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump praises law enforcement response to shooting at Illinois business MORE (Ill.) would be a “grave error” and urged the Senate to reconsider the bill.

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The attorney general said the bill weakens the punishments for criminals and risks allowing the “very worst criminals” back into society by allowing judges to retroactively reduce sentences.

The legislation, reintroduced last year after previously failing in the Senate, would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders and end the mandatory three strikes rule that calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to life in prison.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Push for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 MORE (R-Utah) has also indicated support.

Grassley says the legislation would allow "nonviolent offenders with minimal criminal histories a better chance to become productive members of society."

Sessions, who has staked out his attorney general legacy as being tough on crime, argued the bill makes it easier for "serious drug traffickers" to re-enter society.

“The bill weakens penalties for repeat, serious drug traffickers, including those who used a gun and those with significant criminal histories, and would reduce the sentences of and potentially allow for the early release of many dangerous felons in prison now, including heroin traffickers, firearms felons, and those who are members of violent drug cartels and gangs like MS-13,” Session wrote.

“Passing this legislation to further reduce sentences for drug traffickers in the midst of the worst drug crisis in our nation’s history would make it more difficult to achieve our goals and have potentially dire consequences,” he said.